One in 50 of the transits through the expanded Panama Canal between June and January have resulted in damage to either ships or the waterway, according to an investigation by the Associated Press.
A journalist for the newswire recently took a voyage along the canal in which he described how a number of ship scrapes have already taken their toll on the $5.25bn upgraded intercontinental transport link.
“Along the way there were multiple places where the black rubber cushion defenses were visibly worn down, hanging into the water or missing entirely. In one spot a pile of dislodged bumpers sat on the side of the locks, apparently waiting to be hauled away,” the AP report noted.
When quizzed by AP, the Panama Canal Authority admitted that 2% of the 700 transits in the seven months since the grand opening in June last year had resulted in damage to locks or ships.